Harry Styles has just successfully wrapped up the European leg of Love on Tour 2022 and, before he takes the show stateside, is there any better way to celebrate than by taking a trip down memory lane? That seems to be exactly what The X Factor UK was thinking when they decided to release an extended cut of Harry’s original audition for the show.
On July 30, a six-minute long video titled “Harry Styles Audition: EXTENDED CUT” — all caps for emphasis, of course — appeared unannounced on the YouTube channel for The X Factor UK. In the video, we see a nervous 16-year-old Harry gearing up for his X Factor audition with an entourage of people wearing custom t-shirts that read “We Think Harry Has the X Factor.”
“I’m Harry Styles. I’m 16. I’m from Holmes Chapel in Cheshire,” a fresh-faced Harry introduces himself in the video. So far, nothing new. However, this is where things change. If you’ve been a Directioner since day one, you’d surely recall Harry singing Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” for his audition in 2010. But, as the new (or, I guess old?) footage reveals, he originally sang another song to be selected for the competition series. Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister,” no less — and let’s just say it wasn’t as instant of a hit.
“I don’t know whether it’s the track that’s throwing you, but can I hear something just you without any music?” Simon Cowell tells Harry in the clip. Harry then proceeds to sing the a capella version of “Isn’t She Lovely” that Directioners all over the world now treasure. “I’m really glad that we had the opportunity to hear you a capella because we could really hear how great your voice is. For 16 years old, you have a beautiful voice,” Nicole Scherzinger, who we know now is the actual mastermind behind 1D, says as soon as Harry is done singing.
In the unseen footage, Harry also speaks (at length) about the bakery he worked at at the time and reveals the reason why he decided to audition for the show. “I’ve always wanted to audition but I’ve always been too young, so I thought I’d give it a whirl this time,” the global popstar says. “My mom’s always told me that I’m a good singer and so have my friends so… I wanted to come and ask from the people who know.”
And the rest, as they say, is history. Watch the unseen footage of Harry’s audition for yourself — and cue the baked goods debate — below: